A series of papal bulls had indeed secured to
the Portuguese the exclusive commerce with Western Africa
; but the slave-trade between Africa
was, I believe, never expressly sanctioned by the see of Rome
The spirit of the Roman church was against it. Even Leo X., though his voluptuous life, making of his pontificate a continued carnival, might have deadened the sentiments of humanity and justice, declared,1
that ‘not the Christian
religion only, but nature herself, cries out against the state of slavery.’
And Paul III., in two separate briefs,2
curse on the Europeans who should enslave Indians
, or any other class of men. It even became usual for Spanish vessels, when they sailed on a voyage of discovery, to be attended by a priest, whose benevolent duty it was, to prevent the kidnapping of the aborigines.3
The legislation of independent America
has been emphatic4
in denouncing the hasty avarice which entailed the anomaly of negro slavery in the midst of liberty.
Ximenes, the gifted coadjutor of Ferdinand and Isabella, the stern grand inquisitor, the austere but ambitious Franciscan, saw in advance the danger which it required centuries to reveal, and refused to sanction the introduction of negroes into Hispaniola
that the favorable climate would increase their numbers, and infallibly lead them to a successful revolt.
A severe retribution has manifested his sagacity: Hayti, the first spot in America